What the F*** Did I Just See? – Anything you can do, I can make you miserable while doing it.
When you watch as many movies as I do, sometimes you come across something that just blows your mind. When this happens, it’s best to write it down and pray you never see it again.
What the F*** Was I Watching? : How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
What the F*** Did I Just See?: A romantic comedy void of romance
In the first two installments of WTF, I focused on specific moments of things I saw in a particular movie. For my third entry, what I’m selecting is more abstract, but no less mind-blowing.
I was able to avoid watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days for nearly a decade and it is clear to me, now that I’ve seen it, that I was better off. For some reason, this movie has been kind of placed within its genre, no matter how terrible a genre it is, as one of the best of the decade. Maybe it is the likable stars, or the admittedly good chemistry between the leads, but all I saw in it was a movie that overlooked the sociopathic tendencies of the two main characters. This is one of the most hateful films I’ve ever seen, and to call it a romantic comedy is an affront to romance and comedy.
There are plenty of crappy, formulaic romantic comedies that retell the same old Cinderella story (Maid in Manhattan) and there are those that decide to go the unrequited love route (Something Borrowed, My Best Friend’s Wedding) and I give this film credit for being a somewhat unique story line. However, for better or worse, this genre usually involves people that are goodhearted yet in a sticky situation. This film has two leads that like to play mind games with each other until… I don’t know? A murder-suicide? Seems like that ending would have been much more satisfying. Honestly, these two are about as likable as those two old guys in Trading Places.
This movie is an odd case of not really having any character growth and this is because neither of them acts like themselves for the majority of the movie. Did she learn that she shouldn’t act like a raging Overly-Attached Girlfriend, blowing into one man’s life and causing just enough havoc to be a boner disintegrating psyche hurricane all in the name of a story? If she needed to learn that, there is something seriously wrong with her. What was his revelation? Probably that bitches be crazy. Unless they aren’t; in which case, they actually probably are.
Why are we supposed to root for these two? And if we aren’t, why bother getting them together at the end? The simple answer is that the genre has devolved into such a formula that even in this case of a slight detour that a movie like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days manages to take, all roads will still lead to the inevitable ending, regardless of whether either character has earned a happily ever after conclusion.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days isn’t the worst romantic comedy ever made, but it’s one with a seriously broken moral compass in a genre where it’s important to have main characters you want to root for. Imagine if you watched a slasher movie and the girl that defeats the killer at the end, when she’s not running for her life, spends her time attending Klan meetings and curb-stomping minorities. Do you hope she survives? That’s what How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is: the romantic comedy equivalent of a really racist Laurie Strode.
Romantic comedies have gone down the path of banal, formulaic crap that gives you a happy ending whether you want it or not. I didn’t intend for that last sentence to sound so rapey, but whatever. If you want a good date movie, check out classics like Some Like it Hot, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, or Annie Hall. Hopefully, one day, the genre will right the ship and make more quality films than they have been in the past 25 years. Until then, I’ll continue to blame Garry Marshall.